Having made his debut in Japan, Max Chilton will be back in the Marussia at Abu Dhabi next weekend when he replaces Charles Pic in FP1.
Having been elevated from the Marussia Young Driver Programme where he competed in the GP2 Championship this season. Chilton also took part in the team's Young Driver Test in July at Silverstone, where he drove the MR01 for two consecutive half days.
Since Japan, as befits his reserve driver status, Chilton has been part of the team's track walks, engineering meetings and driver debriefs to ensure he is sufficiently well prepared in the event that he is required to substitute for one of the race drivers. The FP1 opportunity is a further extension of that race weekend preparation.
Abu Dhabi was chosen because Chilton has previous experience of the Yas Marina Circuit, having raced there in the GP2 Series. This eliminates the time spent by any new driver getting acclimatised to a circuit in the FP1 session and he will be able to concentrate on car set-up, aerodynamic testing and furthering his experience of the car and team's systems and procedures in a more dynamic, full-grid environment than the test he previously took part in.
Charles Pic also has prior experience of the Yas Marina Circuit, having earned his 2012 race seat with the team at its Young Driver Test there in late 2011. This prior knowledge of the track means he will be less compromised in terms of his own race weekend preparation when Chilton conducts the morning session.
"I feel very proud to be entrusted with this opportunity by the team," said Chilton. "As part of the Young Driver Programme this year I got to know the Team very well, but over the last two race weekends, as Reserve Driver, I feel like I have a proper role and have learned so much about the Formula 1 environment in a very short space of time. This is the next step in the process of proving my potential and another important notch for me personally in terms of my ultimate goals. As for next Friday, the 90 minutes of FP1 will fly by so quickly that it's a real bonus to be testing the car at a circuit I know well. It means I can get up to speed straight away and focus on delivering some proper set-up and aero evaluation data for the Team to help during the rest of the weekend. My thanks to everyone at the Marussia F1 Team for the faith they have shown in me so far and I will now concentrate my efforts on keeping my excitement in check and ensuring I make the most of this fantastic opportunity!"
"We are delighted to provide this opportunity to Max in Abu Dhabi as it serves two important functions for us," added John Booth. "First of all, in the position of Reserve Driver, Max needs to be as prepared as possible should he be required to substitute for either race driver in the remaining races of the 2012 season. Secondly, as part of our ongoing assessment of the next generation of racing talent, we are interested to see how Max has progressed since we first put him in the car at our Young Driver Test at Silverstone in the summer. Since that time, Max has impressed a great deal in the GP2 series, achieving two race wins in the latter part of the season, so at the same time as ensuring his preparedness for the Reserve Driver role, we are looking forward to comparing his driving development with his growing maturity outside of the car. Of the four remaining Grand Prix venues we will visit this season, Abu Dhabi will impact least on Charles' race weekend preparation and it will be business as usual for him with effect from Friday afternoon."